Neighbors helping neighbors: During RCSD busing crisis, parents step up

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Although school started roughly a month ago for many, some families in the Rochester City School District are still feeling the affect of the busing crisis. 

Alicia Brown was used to having her son Lorenzo get picked up by a school bus last year, but she said things have changed this fall. 

The district announced it would not provide transportation for students participating in its Walker-Bus Program, which affected Brown’s 3rd grader.

Brown’s option? Walking Lorenzo to class. However, the mile walk isn’t something Brown can do. She had a stoke in 2010 that still impacts her mobility.

“It hurts me to walk across the street and I have to stop because my leg it just tightens up,” Brown said. 

Because of this, Brown was worried she would have to remove Lorenzo from class. That’s when a generous mother who lived nearby, offered to help. 

“You really can’t tell a mom that had a stroke that she needs to walk her child down the street, that’s kind of like… it just like took me aback like, yeah…there’s no way that’s happening,” Antonia Wynter said. 

Wynter lives around the block from Brown. Although her own son takes the bus, she volunteered to pick up Lorenzo and bring him to school. 

“My son gets a bus and his bus comes about 25 minutes before school starts. And then I have to wait for him to get on the bus, and then I run over here and I pick up Lorenzo. He’s a sweet little boy…and then we dropped him off and then I go get him at recess,” Wynter said. 

Seeing how the busing crisis was affecting families, Wynter told the district she would be willing to help bring children to school who needed it, even though she has a busy schedule.

“I don’t mind doing it, but this really isn’t my responsibility and it’s getting to be a little bit overwhelming,” Wynter said. 

But no matter the work, as a mother herself, Wynter knows first-hand how important it is children feel safe while getting to school. 

“Sometimes people think of the safety in the neighborhood as far as maybe drugs and crime. But there’s other things,,, when someone’s dog can get loose, a really small child can get hit by a car, or someone can run off the road, you just never know,” she said. 

Brown said having Wynter’s help is a “blessing” but she knows other students may not have that option. RCSD said they don’t have an exact number of how many students are still having to find their own transportation. However, earlier in September, there were hundreds of students that would have to find their own way to get to class. 

“If it’s only one kid, that’s the one kid too many,” Wynter said. “They say no child left behind any child left behind, any child without transportation is one too many.”

While both Brown and Wynter know the district is working hard to figure out the best options for students, they want to make sure the children who don’t have rides are considered, especially with winter and less sunlight ahead. 

“Kids still don’t have buses and I think people have forgotten that,” Wynter said. 

Last week, RCSD announced said last week that almost all scholars eligible for busing have been routed. However, they asked for patience from families as there is still a possibility that a driver calls out sick and delays happen as a result. 

The district is still looking to hire more drivers and are in the process of going through applications to see who is eligible. 

RGRTA is still assisting with rides for thousands of RCSD students. This could continue for the next three months depending on a driver shortage.

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